Why do we need a “school” to learn how to fish?
…Changes and lot’s of em’
“Changes in fishing?…you just put a worm on a hook and put it in the water…don’t you?… what changes? ”
When people find out that I am the founder and president of the first “Fishing School” in Canada, I normally encounter one of two reactions. The first is excitement and enthusiasm that Canada has finally entered the 21st century when it comes to their favorite sport and now has a professional educational program available, or the second reaction is a shock and surprise that there is actually a “School” where people can go and learn how to fish!
Now the first reaction I can certainly understand. After all I more than anyone is excited that not only do I have the privilege of pioneering in North America’s biggest sport by opening Canada’s first Professional Educational and Instructional School of Fishing”, but also that I have the opportunity to teach and educate interested anglers all over the province or country in the finer and more advanced ways of fishing for their favourite game fish and also help educate these people in conservation practices to protect our natural fishing resources.
But the second reaction the one of shock and surprise makes me laugh. When these people say, “What’s to learn? You just put a worm on a hook and put it in the water, nothing to it. What has changed in the sport of fishing over the years?”
I think to myself so you must be one of those people that think that fishing is a “boring” and “uneventful” pastime, it’s no wonder, that with all that “fishing knowledge” that they seem to posses, that they found it very unproductive, and that is why they have taken up golf!
If I have the time, my answer would go like this. Let’s look at some of the changes that fishing and fish have gone through over the past decade or so.
Fishing Rods have gone from bamboo, steel and fiberglass, which were about the only materials used for rod building years ago are now only used for specific techniques.
New technically advanced materials are now used. Materials such as “graphite” make rods a lot lighter and far more sensitive, making them a far more comfortable and effective tool to fish with, which in can change the way we use them for specific techniques and makes them more productive.
Reels, used to be just a heavy block of steel used to store your line, had inferior drag systems and were the cause of a lot of backlashes. But not now! Again new materials and advanced technology has brought about great new reels. Gone are the heavy steel frames, instead we use materials like aluminum, durable plastics and titanium. They are far lighter, cast further, have superb drag systems, and some very valuable features. Bait casters now have some really good brake systems allowing even novice anglers to fish with them without the threat of having a “back lash” on every cast, although if not set right one might encounter the odd overrun, even professional anglers have the odd back lash however we don’t like to admit to it!
Lines, here we have gone through and annually still go through some major changes. From “Dacron” and plain “Monofilament” we now have very small diameter lines made from various materials from mono and fluorocarbon, which makes lines virtually invisible underwater, to low stretch mono and no stretch braided lines which are ultra sensitive. Now you have a choice,
Lo-visibility, High visibility, Lo-stretch and No-stretch, Limp lines with Lo-memory and
High-Abrasion lines all meant for special conditions and situations.
Lures and Crank Baits, remember the older wooden baits and metal spoons where you had to keep replacing them not due to losing the to fighting fish but due to the fact that the paint finish kept coming off? Not now!
Today’s lures and crank baits have high-tech computerized and laser images and finishes infused directly into or onto the baits leaving even the angler wondering if it is one of his lures or if one of his slippery baitfish happened to jump out of the bait well and land in his tackle box!
Plus these new baits come with laser or chemically sharpened hooks that don’t need to be sharpened when you take them out of the box. Now you will only have to replace these lures when the fish are also fooled by the incredible natural looking finish and hit so hard that they snap your line!
Soft Plastics Baits, almost any tackle store now day’s carries several brands of soft plastic baits. They come in every possible shape, size, colour and style. Most of them come with almost every fish attractant flavor possible and work so well that they are banned in several national parks and even some provinces.
Fishing Pressure and Changing Conditions, with the millions of immigrants that have flocked to Canada over the past few years and have taken up fishing that were acceptable in the country they’re from, but perhaps aren’t so acceptable here and haven’t adapted to our approach to recreational fishing and conservation methods that are in place to ensure and protect our fisheries, it has had and continues to have a major affect on fish populations and the fishing environment. A lot of these people come from countries were fishing often is their primary food source or source of income and trade item. They have no fishing regulations and unless they learn to adapt to the Canadian way of fishing which is to help conserve the fisheries by fishing responsibly and following fishing regulations which are put in force to protect our fishing opportunities, they have a very negative affect on our pan fish populations which are the main forage fish of our game fish. As well as dramatically increasing fishing activity and fishing pressure on the fish. This alone has major affects on a fish’s environment and behavior patterns.
Introduction of Native and Non-Native Fish, due to the efforts by many agencies and organizations we have been very successful in our plans to re-introduce Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Hybrids and several species of salmon back into many of our Great Lakes and adjoining water systems.
Another good note, we have been able to introduce non-native fish to many area waters. Pan fish such as Blue Gill and White and Black Crappie have given many angler’s new fishing opportunities throughout many regions of Canada.
However unplanned were the invasion of Zebra Mussels and Gobies from water used for ballast in foreign cargo ships which entered our lakes and rivers eating plantain and small bait fish which again has had a major effect on the water clarity, the food source of our baitfish and the population of bait fish in the food chain, all affecting game fish and their feeding locations and patterns.
The increase of water traffic from anglers, pleasure crafts, houseboats, water skiers, jet skiers have had an affect on where and when fish will feed.
Global Warming and Unpredictable Weather, years ago there was one thing we could count on, long cold winters, with lots of snow, which meant in the spring, significant run offs and high water levels. But with the affects of global warming and the unpredictable weather we are now facing year round, we never know from year to year when our winter weather will start, when it will end, and how much snow we will receive if any at all.
What does this have to do with fishing? Everything!
Water levels and especially temperatures predict when fish will spawn. Fish also have preferred water temperatures for habitat and more importantly to anglers, when they start to feed after the spawn. With the unstable weather we are experiencing every year it has a direct affect on fish behaviour and migrating patterns, leaving anglers scratching their heads when they hit the water only to find their old reliable honey holes vacant!
Unless you are knowledgeable on the water preference of your fish, you won’t know where to start to look for them and if you do find them, what temperature they need the water to be for them to be interested in feeding.
I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point.
In order to be a successful angler on any consistent basis, angler’s have to understand the biological and the preference requirements of their targeted species, and more importantly, the affect that all or any of the above changes have had on these fish, in order to adapt our approach and how to use today’s advanced products to stay “in touch” with active fish.
I wonder if those people ever wonder why they didn’t catch many fish? …But more importantly do they now see why those that do want to get into fishing or those that want to advance their level of fishing need a some professional education and instruction?
I bet they do… after all it’s not like golf, where you just use a club to hit a ball around a golf course!
Want to learn more? Come take my course or seminar!